Saturday, September 7, 2013

Are you a French Foodie?

Something happened the other day that made me think back to an old post from February 2011, that also appeared in the April 2012 Deux Sevres Monthly magazine. In it I claimed that although I love France and I love Food, being a true French Foodie would never be attainable to me for the following reasons:

french village diaries food France croissants
My Sunday morning treat
1) Breakfast - a typical French breakfast is quite small; a bowl of coffee served with a buttered baguette and jam or a croissant. Now I LOVE croissants, but I prefer my breakfast to be a little bit more substantial. I am not talking about the English fry-up, which does nothing for me, but a steamy bowl of porridge when it’s cold or shredded wheat with fresh fruit when it’s not is just perfect - I’m a fibre girl!

2) Chocolate Cereal - it can be difficult to buy cereal without added chocolate - again, I LOVE chocolate, but not for breakfast.

3) Coffee Bowl Bread - I will never, be able to dunk a baguette into a ‘bowl’ of coffee - a breakfast ritual for the French. Coffee, in my opinion, is best served small and black and the only thing I dunk in it is a square of 70% dark chocolate. 

french village diaries bread food France
The French love their daily bread
4) The Daily Bread - much as I love the freshly baked white baguettes, I just can’t eat them with every meal. I’m a fibre girl and therefore am also the proud owner of a bread machine that is used regularly to produce delicious wholemeal loaves.

5) The Cooked Lunch - French families regularly return home at lunchtime for a full 2 or 3 course cooked meal - how they are organised enough to have a cooked meal ready for 12.00 is beyond me. Cooked lunch here is a soup.

6) Tripe and Andouillette – both considered a delicacy here. I like the idea of not wasting anything from an animal killed for food, however I find it impossible to eat either of these.

7) Late Night Eating - following the large lunchtime meal the French will eat again quite late in the evening. No matter how large the lunch I’ve managed to rustle up I need to eat before 8 o’clock a) as I’m hungry and b) because after then it’s just too late to eat.

8) The Starter - most French main meals will be 2 or 3 small courses. Whilst I think this is a great idea I find it really difficult to coordinate a meal with a starter; there is either an enormous gap between starter and main or the main has ruined while we eat the starter.

9) Marmite - you either love it or hate it, or, if you’re French you just don’t get it - I LOVE it!

10) I’m English - the very fact that I’m not French means that even if I manage to prepare, cook and serve it like they would and at the correct time of day, it would never truly be considered French.

Now, while I stand by most of these points, this week with no real planning or thought I managed to serve up a cooked lunch, with a starter and a dessert. The reason for this momentary blip of Frenchness was the need to fuel ourselves properly for an afternoon bike ride. A simple starter of sliced tomatoes with vinaigrette was followed by wholemeal pasta and courgettes (zucchini) cooked in garlic butter, all tossed together with a tin of mackerel in mustard sauce - quick and easy all the way. A slice of homemade apple tart finished the meal off nicely.

Maybe in time I am becoming more of a French foodie, but I’m certainly not ready to start dunking my bread or croissants in my coffee just yet.


  1. I'm happy to do the French breakfast thing on holiday but at home, I'm tea and porridge or sugar-free organic muesli, and I don't like eating a lot at lunch so only do so if I have lunch out. :)

    1. I love my porridge too, a great way to start a winter morning.

  2. I'm arriving in France on Sept. 12 for a month so will devote myself, with great delight, to being a French foodie for that time. Hopefully walking and biking will help me deal with the consequences of baguette excess!

    1. I hope you have a lovely time here Patricia and eat loads of lovely French delights.

  3. It's wonderful to appreciate the differences isn't it? I think breakfast is often the most culturally specific meal of the day- wherever you go. I understand your fibre thoughts, and while I love croissants I feel guilty eating them for breakfast. On our recent month in France I ate a version of my breakfast at home- yoghurt, fruit and a sprinkling of muesli. I felt that gave me a good start to the day.

    1. When we first moved here we ambled next door to the boulangerie EVERY morning to buy croissants! Needless to say that had to stop as I soon resembled the shape of a croissant. Now they are my weekly treat on a Sunday and I love them even more for not having them every day!

  4. The dunking of the bread into the coffee grosses me out. That's one thing I will never, ever do.

    1. Same here! It is nice to know I'm not the only one and more so from someone far more integrated into French family daily life than I will ever be!


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